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Survival of the tallest

The extreme adaptations of the giraffe have fuelled evolutionary hypotheses since the time of Lamarck. In-depth studies of its genomes are now yielding solid answers about its evolution, along with the identifi cation of new species. A better understanding of its biology, including its social behaviour, may help to secure the future of this unique animal.

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Ecology of South African large herbivores in a managed arid savanna: body mass, local distribution, and parasites.

Large herbivores are an important natural resource for humans, but a high proportion of these species are classified as globally endangered. Current declines of these species are mainly caused by unsustainable harvesting and land use loss or conversion. These processes frequently increase herbivore mortality rates, and alter a species’ behaviour and local distributions. Because of their importance, humans frequently attempt to manage large herbivores to assure their sustainable use and effective protection. Nevertheless, these actions usually focus on managing and

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The evolutionary biomechanics of locomotor function in giant land animals

Giant land vertebrates have evolved more than 30 times, notably in dinosaurs and mammals. The evolutionary and biomechanical perspectives considered here unify data from extant and extinct species, assessing current theory regarding how the locomotor biomechanics of giants has evolved. In terrestrial tetrapods, isometric and allometric scaling patterns of bones are evident throughout evolutionary history, reflecting general trends and lineage-specific divergences as animals evolve giant size. Added to data on the scaling of other supportive tissues and neuromuscular control, these

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The changing role of natural and human agencies shaping the ecology of an African savanna ecosystem

Reconstructing the historical interplay of wildlife and pastoralists in the African savannas is clouded in contemporary studies by the transformation of subsistence societies and land use changes. We draw on five decades of monitoring by the Amboseli Conservation Program to illustrate the rainfall–-plant–herbivore linkages in a free-ranging wildlife–livestock system transitioning to contemporary savanna landscapes. In half a century, the coupled interactions of wildlife and livestock in the Amboseli ecosystem driven by rainfall and water sources have been severed and reshaped

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Assessment of the feasibility to reintroduce Angolan giraffe (Giraffa giraffa angolensis) into Iona National Park, Angola focusing on habitat and social suitability

Giraffe (Giraffa spp.) numbers and distribution have shown dramatic decline (>30%) over the past 30 years. A century ago, the population size in the wild was estimated at >1 million individuals. At present, there are approximately 117, 000 individuals remaining, of which 50% are throughout southern Africa. This rapid decline is mainly thought to be due to habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation, and sporadic poaching and civil unrest ravaging many African countries. As a result of this decline, giraffe was

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A literature review of horn and horn-like structures in vertebrates to correlate placement to function, behavior, and niche.

In this paper, the true horns of bovids are compared to the many horn-like structures found throughout the animal kingdom. Literary sources were reviewed for a variety of horn-like structures. The review was limited to extinct and extant terrestrial vertebrates. 3D models of these organisms’ skulls and “horns” were created or acquired and 3D printed at the same scale to illustrate their differences and similarities and to analysis of their comparative size easier between large and small genera.

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Assessment of the impact of human-wildlife conflict on socio-economic livelihoods of communities bordering Bour-Algy Giraffe Sanctuary in Garissa, Kenya

Purpose: In the recent years, human-wildlife conflicts have been increasing and its implications on biodiversity conservation and livelihood is significant in the drylands of Kenya especially in Garissa County. The link between these conflicts and socio-economic livelihoods has however been less explored in northeast Kenya, which prompted an investigation into the impact of human-wildlife conflict on socio-economic livelihoods of communities bordering Bour-Algy Giraffe Sanctuary in Garissa County. Methodology: A survey was conducted on the locals from the location as well

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Further behavioural parameters support reciprocity and milk theft as explanations for giraffe allonursing

Suckling of a non-filial calf, or allosuckling, is an extreme case of allomaternal care in mammals. There have been many hypotheses postulated in an attempt to explain this behaviour; however, the supporting evidence differs, together with the conclusions drawn from the investigated variables. Previously, suckling bout rejection was analysed, and the milk theft and reciprocity hypotheses were both determined as the most appropriate explanation of allosuckling in giraffe. In this study, seven hypotheses were tested using different behavioural parameters, namely

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Giraffokeryx punjabiensis (Artiodactyla, Ruminantia, Giraffidae) from Lower Siwaliks (Chinji Formation) of Dhok Bun Ameer Khatoon, Pakistan

Fossil remains of Giraffokeryx punjabiensis (premolar and molar teeth belonging to the upper and lower jaws) have been collected and discussed from Chinji Formation of Dhok Bun Ameer Khatoon (32o 47’ 26.4” N, 72° 55’ 35.7” E). All these (twenty one) specimens are isolated teeth, which provide new data and give valuable information on the biostratigrphy and paleoecology of Giraffokeryx punjabiensis as well as the stratigraphy and paleoclimates of these Miocene rocks of the Chakwal district, Pakistan.

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Influence of Aesthetic Appreciation of Wildlife Species on Attitudes towards Their Conservation in Kenyan Agropastoralist Communities

The influence of human aesthetic appreciation of animal species on public attitudes towards their conservation and related decision-making has been studied in industrialized countries but remains underexplored in developing countries. Working in three agropastoralist communities around Amboseli National Park, southern Kenya, we investigated the relative strength of human aesthetic appreciation on local attitudes towards the conservation of wildlife species. Using semi-structured interviewing and free listing (n = 191) as part of a mixed methods approach, we first characterized local aesthetic

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